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02-07-2010, 01:16 PM #1
Looking to buy new machines for new gunsmithing business
I'm looking at the possibility of buying a new mill and lathe for a new gunsmith business. Right now I'm trying to get prices for business plan. 3 brands I'm looking at are Birmingham, Sharp and Kent I would prefer American products (I know Sharp in Tiawan). Does anyone have and opinion on these brands. My experience is with Bridgeport, Logan and LeBlond and have no knowledge of these. I"m posting this in the General forum also.
02-07-2010, 01:38 PM #2
I would look at the Grizzly products, Every thing you list is made off shore even if is sold by an outfit with USA in their name. the bigger Grizzly gunsmith lathe looked pretty good to me at the SHOT Show.
02-07-2010, 03:24 PM #3
I know several guys that have Kent's with VFD and they are very happy.Sharpe is a good brand. The Birmingham is the same as several other brands of small Chinese lathes.
If you can find a clean Rockwell lathe, it is a gem for smithing.
As far mills, any Bridgeport or clone will do all you need.
02-07-2010, 04:25 PM #4
Thanks Butch this is the kind of info I was looking for I'm hoping I'll get a budget and be allowed to shop for new or used used equipment is being sold for a steal in my area right now I but if the funds is for XYZ mill then there better be XYZ mill in the inventory.
02-07-2010, 04:26 PM #5
I haven't given the Grizzly machines much thought as there have been post on this site that said delivery times are greatly extended.
02-07-2010, 07:06 PM #6
If your budget allows, get at least a knee mill with a CNC control. The Sharps mills in conjunction with a Southwest Industries Prototrak really earn their keep in a hurry. Makes jobs so much easier.
If I was buying a lathe, I'd get a hardinge tool room. Awesome machines and you can barrel on them with a little creativity. Your threading jobs will be a snap and the big/ solid bedway is about as rigid as it gets.
02-07-2010, 08:03 PM #7SmithSolar Guest
02-07-2010, 09:05 PM #8
Grizzly has been in business for 20 years and has parts if you need them and their quality control is better, that is why I bought my 9x49 mill from them.
02-08-2010, 06:04 AM #9
I'll have to agree with deltaenterprises on the harbor frieght tools quality control is inconsistent I've know people who used them some have good ones other have nothing but trouble with them I really don't want to risk a customers firearm because the machine won't hold tolerance.
02-08-2010, 09:45 AM #10SmithSolar Guest
I agree 20 year ago both Grizzly and harbor freight tools where not that good
To day it look like the have the same castings for the tool and have improved the tools over the years
I will also say both Grizzly and harbor freight tools are not as good as south bend but tools are gone.
If you are starting the cost of tools is very important to keep low.
02-08-2010, 10:57 AM #11
Sue Ostrander, Sales Manager, 845-878-2500. Fryer Machine Systems Inc. - CNC toolroom lathes milling machines machining centers
02-09-2010, 09:35 AM #12
Have you ever shown at the SHOT show? For most of us $5K for a lathe or mill is pretty hard to come by $50K s harder. I do agree that gunsmithing is and should be moving to CNC but we are not there yet. Having suppliers attend our trade shows and really learn what we need and then show us how CNC will do it faster/better would be good.
02-09-2010, 10:58 AM #13SmithSolar Guest
If you look back 40 years ago I was in a shops where the gunsmith was using a 9 x 18 lathe, floor drill press, table saw and a disk sander. Today the cost of this shop is less than $2,000.00. I would look for a longer lathe
I hope this help you
02-09-2010, 06:33 PM #14
02-09-2010, 07:35 PM #15
I'll give Fryer Machine a call to see what's available but I admit I don't see much need for CNC in a non production shop on top of which which I have zero experience in CNC programing my wife does but then I would have to teach her about gunsmithing in order to write the program I don't think she interested in guns beyond shooting them.
02-09-2010, 08:27 PM #16SmithSolar Guest
If it is mix shop doing production and repair you will find a CNC.
If you just doing repair as you found out not must need for a CNC and hours of progarming just does not pay.
My background is a Journeyman machinist in repair at this time I am working to be a gunsmith and having a shop I had a shop MFG. but after 911 found no more work.
02-10-2010, 04:15 AM #17
rifles and custom dies. I can do more volume of much more complicated work with a lot fewer set ups in both an open bed DPM Trak and a Hardinge cnc than trying to do the same in manual machines.
Just as an example, last Sunday morning I drew out and made up 14 prototype pin pivoting extractors for a Rem 223 bolt face. Started at 6am and was done and ready to install the first by 1:30. Why 14? cause that's all the stock I cut.
Don't take this wrong. There is a strong need for maunuals here also. Just don't neglect the use and need of a little puter assist now and then.
Is it the right way to go for a guy just starting out? Maybe not if there is no prior experience. Maby yes, depending on your comfort level. I can tell you we would struggle to make a buck without them.
02-10-2010, 09:16 AM #18
as a hobby i have been building my own precision rifles. for this, i a manual lathe is a must have item. if what i do ever becomes more than building rifles for just myself, i would like to get a manual/nc type lathe such as a haas tl1. the threading cycles alone would be worth it to me. i also think pushing a properly aligned chamber reamer with a cnc carriage and high pressure oil through the bore would be about as good as it could get.
i played with both the small and big grizzly gunsmithing lathes at SHOT a few weeks back. that is the first time i have seen them in person. they are definatly better than i thought they would be. then again, grizzly may have picked the cream of the crop to show off at SHOT. if i were to start over, i'd now be looking closely at the grizzly gunsmithing series lathes. one thing i know for sure i want is a dro. setting up dial indicators on magnetic bases for every move you make gets old real quick.
02-10-2010, 09:34 AM #19
I'll keep an open mind about CNC but manual machines are a must if it turns out enough business comes of the type that CNC would be a benefit then the gunsmithing side of the business should be making enough to afford the added machine(s).
02-10-2010, 10:12 AM #20SmithSolar Guest
I have run CNC and can program CNC I found takes a lot of time to program and most parts are fasteer doing the old ways. CNC does have it place if you do more than one part